Monday, September 26, 2011


My title refers neither to the Pleiades in the Constellation Taurus nor to the seven daughters of Atlas who were transformed into those stars. Rather, I am drawing attention to a eponymous website (link). I stumbled upon it rather late in my e-life. I could have used it many times before. Under senior editors Roger Bagnall and Richard Talbert, Pleiades provides information on the current location of ancient sites in the Greek and Roman world. The site hosts contributions of scholars and other kinds of madmen—and transforms obscure knowledge into maps you can actually look at, and with confidence.

I went there, as the saying has it, because I wondered about the location of Marpessos, the birth-place of Sybilla (mentioned in the last post). More specifically, that river, Aidoneus, intrigued me. The best I could do with that name was to discover that it was one of the names of Hades. The clouds eventually cleared, and Pleiades became visible. After that I managed to get a map location of ancient Marpessos in current-day Turkey. It follows here. I point to it with a faint arrow in western Turkey using a map courtesy of Bing.

A blow-up of the map, this time from Google, shows the town of İntepe, Turkey as the largest nearest settlement. But the old Marpessos was actually further south and east, thus in the vicinity of Çamlica toward the center and bottom of the map.

View Larger Map

What saddened me is that there are no rivers in this regions, not even brooks, nothing flowing and large enough to leave a line visible on any web-map I’ve consulted at the highest level of magnification. Maybe Aidoneus was subterranean, which would be right for a river from hell.

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